Crash risks in nighttime driving are higher than in daytime driving. Most U.S. roadways do not have roadway lighting. In fact, many state and local governments have difficulties in paying for installing, operating and maintaining roadway lighting. Despite these concerns, the proportion of nighttime driving is not likely to go down in today's round-the-clock economy, making car headlights increasingly important to nighttime driving safety.
While evaluating the potential for new lighting technologies and approaches to improve driving safety at night, including new car lighting systems, ophthalmologists have confirmed the potential safety benefits of adaptive or glare-free high beam headlight systems, which are now beginning to appear on international vehicle models. These systems allow drivers to use high beams while selectively dimming a portion of the beam when oncoming drivers appear, which prevents glare to the oncoming drivers while providing improved visibility along the rest of the road. Estimates suggest that nighttime crashes could be reduced by nearly 7% when adaptive high beams are used, relative to using low beams. Studies indicate that the safety benefits from roadway intersection lighting were in line with visibility improvements evaluated using the relative visual performance model for different types of intersections. Since visual performance for nighttime driving, situations can be predicted accurately, and nighttime crash data is difficult to collect. Relative visual performance could serve as a practical surrogate for crashes, allowing us to efficiently identify new lighting systems for maximizing driving safety at night.
The basic function of headlights is to illuminate the way in the dark and enable the driver to see clearly during night driving. Nowadays drivers are more likely to run into trouble with those that are that are too bright rather than too dim. With the increasing popularity of cheap HID conversion kits and Xenon HID upgrades, these lights can sometimes be dangerously bright to the point of causing harm to drivers of oncoming vehicles. Bulbs that are too bright can cause momentary blindness in oncoming drivers, making it impossible for them to see clearly. They act like the flash of a camera getting directly into the eyes of oncoming drivers, at times causing serious accidents. To address this, most governments have introduced legislation regulating the maximum brightness of headlight bulbs. Mostly, these laws specify that headlight beams should not illuminate the road beyond a set distance.
The LED technology is the game changer in automotive lighting and road safety. Examining the merits of this form of lighting and the safety aspects, LED headlights to produce less heat compared to other forms of lighting. Frequency in switching on and off repeatedly does not shorten the lifespan. LEDs can be customized to emit specific wavelengths or colours of light offering better light quality with minimal infrared or ultraviolet light output. Unlike other forms, LEDs do not burn out abruptly but instead become dimmer with age. Most importantly, the LED assemblies are developed to ensure safety to the oncoming traffic. They do not cause any harm to oncoming drivers and emit light that is friendly to the human eye. In contrast to HID or laser lights, they do not have a blinding effect on the human eye. A well designed LED assembly would create a lighting pattern that would give adequate visibility to drivers without bothering oncoming drivers or pedestrians, thereby reducing accidents.